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Tradition important to SE Asian young

News, 07 January 2016

HO CHI MINH CITY: Young people in the South East Asian markets of Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia are keen to embrace the benefits of Western modernity while at the same time keeping a firm hold on their own traditions, a new report suggests.

The main cultural finding across millennials in all three markets was one of consumers being "globally mobile but locally rooted", PR Week reported.

In Cultural Connections: Southeast Asia, PR agency Edelman brought together local experts to outline the nuances in these three markets, the tensions arising in each, what people are buying and why.

"Even for younger people, who constitute the demographic majority, maintaining local heritage and identity has become paramount," noted Maxine Gurevich, Edelman senior manager of global insights and consumer practice development and project leader for the report.

In fact, under-30s account for 70% of Vietnam's population, and the study highlighted how this generation is reinventing a defining aspect of Vietnamese life.

Street culture is one of the things that set the country apart, according to the report, and despite urban development and government efforts to remove street vendors, street life continues undiminished.

Young people, it added, have "reinvented its appeal by using it as their new stage". They have developed a "new form of collectivism" that is "all about entertaining".

But even as they are using the streets in a different way to the older generation, Vietnamese youth have also enthusiastically embraced the fast-food culture that has been imported from the US.

And as one young person remarked, it's not just about convenience but also about relaxation and "another place for us to socialise".

Young people are, of course, active on social media, where the report noted they were finding ways to subtly subvert government restrictions on what can be said online on political and social issues.

Data sourced from PR Week, Edelman; additional content by Warc staff